As we noted yesterday, a good first impression is the way to start a great relationship. A negative first impression can often be overcome, but why give yourself the extra work?
More statistics from psychological studies show what to do to make a first impression that will last.
7. Bring printed materials. If it’s appropriate, have on hand printed copies of resumes, proposals, statistics, case studies and business cards.
8. Put the focus on THEM. You’ll come off as self-centered if you talk too much about yourself. Before you meet, write down all the things you want to know about the other person–their goals, needs, where they’re at now. You don’t have to go deep the first meeting; just show interest in making a connection.
9. Listen well. Time and again, studies show listening is one of the top skills needed for business success. On average, people only retain 50% of what they hear. Focus on doing better than that. Listening well makes it easy to keep the conversation going. Comment on what the other person says. Ask follow up questions.
10. Research them. Find out as much as you can about the person you want to impress before you meet them. If you can ask intelligent questions, it shows you have some understanding about their situation and makes a very positive first impression. Check out social media to find mutual interests or friends that will spark instant chemistry.
11. Watch the jokes. People’s response to humor varies, so skip anything controversial or sarcastic. Save the jokes for later when you know the person’s sensitivities.
12. Relax! Be at ease and be yourself. Let the other person know the real you, a person far more appealing than someone who’s stressed out trying to make a great first impression. Before your meeting, do something you like–listen to music, go to the gym. Give yourself a pep talk or call a friend for support. And if something trips you up in the meeting, don’t panic. Just pause, take a breath and continue. Never assume you’re blowing it–you really don’t know what the other person is thinking!
With just a little practice, you can leave people with a wonderful first impression every time…. Have a great month!